Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Touring Posnan

Saturday we awoke to a huge breakfast at the pink chalet. It was massive and under no circumstances could it be confused with a healthy diet. It was at this point when we reached for the warm sausages wrapped in bacon that we thought we may be starting to look like our passport pictures. Oh well, I guess it makes sense given the heavy Slavic food we always have on our tables at family reunions.

We had not finished the last of our sausages, tomatoes, assorted meats and cheeses, and breads when Maria arrived with Dominic and Marta in tow. They were ready to go and wanted us to get moving so we could really appreciate the city. Our translator Natalia arranged to meet us at the old square.

We again walked through the park just across from our hotel as we made our way to the downtown area and eventually the tram. As we were walking through the park, we notice a large monument honoring Woodrow Wilson. I don't know if it was coincidental or not, but we also saw one in the main train station in Prague. For those of you history buffs out there, we need some further insight into the relevance of this American president in Poland and the Czech Republic. I've included a photo of us marvelling at it. And that of the newer part of Posnan close to the train station.

We were taken to an older part of the town where it was apparent if you were a tourist, this is where you were directed. It was a large square surrounded by restaurants, much as you would find in any European city. On this day they were having some sort of regional displays and there was a huge stage set up for bands. We positioned ourself in front of a clock which chimed and had 2 goats butting heads at noon. It was a big deal to most, but I concentrated on drinking my beer while the rest of the group watched the display. I'm sorry I don't have a picture, but you can imagine a couple of sorry looking wooden goats almost butting heads as the clock tower chimed.

Incidentally, from what I have been told by everyone, Posnan was pretty much leveled during WWII. So, what we did see was reconstructed. I hate to use the old adage, "chamber of commerce 1952", but that is really what the majority of the town was all about. But, if you didn't know any better, you'd think some of the structures and churches had been there for centuries.

We saw several churches and the Posnan cathedral. I have a few shots of the interior of one and of course the cathedral. You'll notice near the base there is yet another statue of Pope John Paul II. But then again they are everywhere. We were warned by "Clavin" that the poles take him very seriously and we should not make any jokes. It seems to make sense in that 80-85% of Poles consider themselves practicing Catholics. Need I say more?

Eventually we made our way through this older part of town and on to a very swanky shopping mall. According to our translator, the guy that put the deal together bought this old brewery for a couple of Klotchies and now given how successful it is, there are people demanding a "do over". The shops are very upscale and according to our translator, the hottest shopping mall in all of Poland. Well, it may be Polish pride, but it certainly does rival MOA, albeit on a smaller size.

After the mall we had another person called "Dorothy" join our group. She was intent on showing us many of the historic sites. All of which was translated via Natalia. Dorothy also informed us that an uncle(?) or friend of hers has a film about WWII that he produced, and asked if any of our group wanted to see it. I and Susan begged off and headed back to the hotel, while Frank and Joan went on yet another excursion out to the suburbs of Posnan. You will have to get their take on that sidetrip. As for Susan and I, we rounded up some Pivo and we started using the bird call I picked up in Krakow. We sure had the locals looking for a crazy bird up and down the lane. The patriarch and Saint Joan arrived at dusk exhausted. But, they told us we were on for the trip to the country side the next morning and we had hired a driver and a van so we could all go, including Maria and her grandson Dominic.

So ended another day of power travelling.

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